Overcooked

Xbox

Overcooked • Extinguish a burning kitchen • 50G • 74.06% of gamers unlocked this

You don’t often get a titular achievement so early in a game – they’re often reserved for the Xbox equivalent of a Platinum, or certainly for something far more significant than today’s achievement which is issued for, well, stuffing up. When I saw this achievement in the list I figured that I’d get it sooner or later, and then almost instantly I burned some soup on a pirate ship, and then had to rush to work out how to put out the fire.

The net result was two achievements and the completion of the level a few minutes later.

I remember Greg Miller talking quite a bit about Overcooked back in his prime podcasting days, but since Colin Moriarty left him to go and try his hand at being a right wing pundit (let’s face it, in the American political climate it’s actually quite enterprising), then I’ve pretty much missed anything that Kinda Funny produces. Nonetheless, the fact that it rings so prominent in my mind makes whatever product placement money that they paid to the Kinda Funny team (if any) probably worth it, even after all these years it’s encouraged me to give it a go, and give it a go I did.

Will I keep playing though? Emphatically ‘no’, but I want to explain why. I don’t think this is a good game for Xbox. Vita? Perhaps. Mobile? Yes. But peak loungeroom console gaming, I think not. In saying that, there is considerable scope for couch coop and multiplayer options, so in those instances, it could be worth a shot … but I think there’s more fun to be had passing the controller from friend-to-friend in a single player game rather than just play couch coop for the hell of it.

But, as they say, d’frent strokes …

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Coach Palmer’s Pride

Xbox

Laser League • Completed the Tutorial • 10G • 24.83% of gamers unlocked this

I was hoping for a bit more of a meatier achievement from the latest addition to the Xbox Game Pass, but after an inordinate amount of time waiting to get into an online game, I ended up just working my way through the tutorial just to make ‘some’ progress in an otherwise vanilla kind of game.

I don’t mean that as a cruel criticism of the game – I can see it’s potential – but without the online community behind it, it is doomed for a life of mediocrity and eventual shelving. Hell, even Cliff Bleszinski couldn’t get an online game going, so I suspect that a relatively unknown title is going to need a lot more to get over the line.

I have spent much of the afternoon about to fall asleep thanks to a combination of painkillers and a 4am child waking me up ‘for a drink’ so I’m about 30 seconds away from collapsing into bed and I am absolutely OK with that.

Mr. Sandman

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 6 • 15G • 7.73% of gamers unlocked this

A bit of an opportunity session this morning, and while I still had Minecraft: Story Mode on the recently-played / pinned list on the Xbox, I figured it was a good a chance as any to grab an achievement and liberate myself from trying to squeeze in a gaming session tonight. Because, to be honest, I could really go for a few more hours sleep.

Unlike yesterday, I actually sat and watched a bit of this episode. Not through any great desire to engage with the story, but more out of a sense of ‘nothing better to do’. The morning wasn’t entirely wasted, I still managed to get my son dressed while tapping whatever input I felt like at the time to keep the story going, and the lack of a huge combat scene helped … though Chapter 2 largely concentrated on the death of a character (that’s not a spoiler … we meet him for about 30 seconds), and the subsequent detective work that Jesse et. al. put in to learn ‘why’ he might have been killed.

I can kind of see what the intent behind Story Mode was. Almost like an episodic, monster-of-the-week style structure, that might have allowed it to continue in perpetuity. As Phil Spencer has alluded to in the past, the Xbox Game Pass is conducive to releasing episodic content like this, though I think it will take a different title to get me on-board after (and I know I’ve already whinged about this yesterday) the Story Mode season pass debacle.

With that in mind, there are plenty of fresh IPs waiting to be tapped, or even some older titles that could do with a reboot. If anyone has the sharp business mind needed to make it happen, it’s Phil Spencer.

In Phil We Trust.

Invitation to Die For

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Episode 1 of Chapter 6 • 10G • 8.19% of gamers unlocked this

I think I’ve shared my deep-rooted disdain of Minecraft: Story Mode in the past. The bait-and-switch if the ‘season pass’ and needing to buy extra episodes to ‘complete the season’ and all the rigmarole associated with it still makes me bitter to this day – unknowing whether to be angry with Mojang/Microsoft or Telltale or both. Either way, a later sale meant that I was able to complete the collection, but it still stings and I’ll never be able to play Story Mode without feeling the slight sting of bile on the back of my tongue.

Alright, enough hyperbole. Tonight was all about an easy achievement. It was after training, I had two tired kids, and I had only a few minutes to spare between dinner and bedtime – so I tried to slam through the first chapter while I ate. Of course, some glitch required me to stuff around in the Microsoft Store, check the game files, and then eventually restart the game in order to begin the episode, but I got there in the end. I’m not sure how and why I got up to Episode 6, but I did a quick achievement check before I started to make sure I was on-track, and then kicked the episode off.

And then I ate my dinner, providing only the occasional button press for a combat scene, but leaving the dialogue pretty much on its own – particularly if there were viable silences to use. I pretty much do that for most of my Telltale games now, but the developer has smartly cottoned-on to attempts at set-and-forget gameplay, mixing movement scenes with terminal fights should you miss or miss-hit a button press.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s going on with the Episode 6 Story. The team are breaking into a house, I know that, but really I’m completely oblivious to the big picture.

My guess is, at an 8% completion rate … so are a lot of other people.

Daub Stamper

Xbox

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 6_10_36 PM

Microsoft Bingo • You have daubed 500 cells across multiple Bingo matches • 55G • 27.76% of gamers unlocked this

Firstly, Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate it, and my sincerest thoughts to those who might find today difficult for whatever reason.

Today’s achievement is another Windows one, but I elected to go with something a bit different today and locked in a Microsoft Bingo achievement. There’s probably a few other ‘achievable’ ones that I’ll be able to strive for in the future when I’m a bit pressed, but for now, I tapped out at the first opportunity to grab something for the day – and that one is Daub Stamper.

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 5_26_42 PM

I have to say that I think daub is a terrible word. Surely they could simply use ‘marked’ or almost any other word to refer to putting a circle on the page that would mean the same thing – but I guess it is what it is.

And ‘daub’ is what it is.

I feel like a lot of these games – like Microsoft Solitaire or Majong – were developed at the height of the Windows 8 era, but hit their stride post-Surface. The UI is decisively built for a touch screen, but the Xbox integration and greater focus on the Windows Store means that they have found a bit of a niche life in the achievement-hunting community.

Anyway, I’ve locked this in for the night and I’m going to pack it in, ready for another week.

Eastbound & Down

Xbox

Project CARS • Run the California Highway in under 9 mins in a US car • 20G • 0.30% of gamers unlocked this

At the moment I’m driving my parents’ Holden Commodore (I’m not sure what the American GM branding is) and I had a moment at the traffic lights tonight where a sneaky fellow driver thought he could sneak into the lane beside me and overtake me when the light goes green. This sort of behaviour has been making me irrationally angry lately, so I wasn’t having it tonight after a heavy training session and a ravenous hunger to sate, and so I put the pedal down when the light went green and was delighted at the power that the engine sent to the wheels as the Commodore lovingly pushed off the line and sped ahead of Mr. I-think-I’m-better-than-everyone-else.

This is a rather convoluted way of saying: It was a moment of joy in an otherwise high-pressure and busy, busy day – so in an effort to rekindle, or recapture that feeling, I took to Project CARS for my digital fix of racing, and hunted through the achievement list to see what was doable in the half-hour before bed.

It turns out that speeding down a highway in an American car does the trick nicely.

It was a fairly tight race in the end … I only set myself up against one opponent (because who needs that much extra challenge), but he still came in four seconds behind me. That’s dedication from the AI.

There’s a few other achievements which look reachable in Project CARS, but I think I’ve gotten my fix from this session tonight. Best not burn the euphoria out too soon.

‘Oct’oberfest (groan)

Xbox

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered • Spelled 5 eight-letter words • 25G • 23.53% of gamers unlocked this

So, I’m in Sydney for the Intel Extreme Masters, but not before I knocked over this achievement around 4.30am. I had to be careful actually, it was very easy to settle in and play a few rounds, but I convinced myself it was better to get a coffee and get to the airport rather than play more games, and considering it was a fairly smooth process from home to boarding, I think I hit the timing sweet-spot.

Funnily enough, I am now playing Letter Quest on the Vita, my Xbox and the PS4 when the mood grabs me. From what I gather, I’m roughly at the same spot across all three platforms, and I don’t particularly have an attachment to any of them, but I thought it funny little word puzzler could be so ubiquitously fun.

I hope to write a bit more about IEM later today, likely on the flight home or in an airport coffee shop, so there’s a good chance that I’ll have a bit of a kink for Counter-Strike by the end of the day.

Well, Counter-Strike and Letter Quest.

Pollo Power

Xbox

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition • Became a Chicken • 20G • 24.29% of gamers unlocked this

It’s been a while since I’ve fired up Guacamelee! It’s a game that I completed on Vita during my daily commute ages ago, and I’m fairly certain that I’ve made considerable progress on PC as well – so the incentive to get back into it is far-from-overwhelming. Nonetheless, I know that there’s a steady flow of achievements to be earned on it, and without the pressure of time today, I figured it was worth a bit of time to see where I could get up to.

Turns out, it was one of the most satisfying upgrades you can get in the game.

While the novelty of turning into a chicken makes for a bit of a giggle, it is the additional unlocks and puzzle mechanics that the chicken player-character adds that actually makes this a clever addition to an already-above average game. I could do with a little less combat as a chicken – though once you estabish the ability to turn back into a human (which isn’t long) then that sort of concern tends to just drift away.

It was nice to revisit Guacamelee! But more importantly, it was nice to make progress on it and get past the area where I was stuck for a little while. I might pop my head back in over the next few days just to see if I can get a bit further, plus it’s important to keep my combat skills – both of the poultry and the person variety – sharp.

Waypoint Series 1

Xbox

MX vs ATV Reflex • Place 3rd or higher in the Waypoint Series 1 in the MotoCareer • 15G • 48.96% of gamers unlocked this

I tried to grab a quick racing achievement this morning but it wasn’t happening for me, but it seemed like it only required a ‘little’ more effort, because as it turned out I only had to win one more race – but I suspect (it’s been a while since I last played) that I came in something other than the top three in the pivotal second race of the series in order to unlock this achievement.

As long as MX vs ATV continues to let me race without needing to master tricks and stuff, then we’re going to get along just fine. I understand that there’s a whole raft of SSX-style tricks and stuff to learn, but in all honesty, for a game that has fleeting appeal, I’m unlikely to want to fill my brain with a whole heap of tricky manoeuvres.

It’s good for today’s achievement though, and that’s what matters.

Icons of History

Xbox

Age of Empires: Castle Siege • Unlocked any 6 heroes • 50G • 15.19% of gamers unlocked this

As promised, I went with a Castle Siege achievement today. I thought I might be able to keep this one in my back pocket and grab an iOS Minecraft achievement, but the closest thing that was on offer appeared to be was creating an enchantment table – and after a hunt around a Minecraft Wiki, I knew I was nowhere near assembling a table without some serious hand holding and, if I was lucky, a pre-prepared, achievement-specific world.

This achievement cost me a bit of in-game currency, which was fine – I still had some leftover from upgrading my archery tower last time I needed an emergency achievement, and in the meantime I have another three heroes to experiment with in-battle (I’d already unlocked a few others).

Right now, though? I’m enjoying a local beer from the Bright Brewery (for international readers, that’s in Bright, Victoria, Australia – at the foot of the Alpine region, and the gateway to our snowfields) and I plan on enjoying a few more before the night’s over. I very much doubt there’ll be any more achievements today.

Except, perhaps, in Untappd.